Archive for December, 2015

The Ramones only did a handful of gigs outside New York City in 1976. They played in Boston, Los Angeles, London and Toronto. Already primed, little local scenes heard the starting gun to launch punk rock, which  meant to do what it said on the tin.

To make rock punk.

While London had post war social strife, 3 day weeks, and the IRA they also had the UK media to manipulate and wind   up. To make its rock punk, New York had the centre of the music business, established managers and record company executives, all within spitting distance of CBGB’s and the Bowery in lower Manhattan.

The Sex Pistols railed against ALL aspects of the society that was afflicting them, The Ramones turned their anger around and created a pure cartoon pop – with chain saws. Their 15 minute live sets of 1976 were a wacky hybrid of The Shirelles, Bay City Rollers and The Stooges.

Let’s face it though, both New York and London had easy references to inspire them.

The music business in Canada was led by a few tired hippy leftovers who had established their industry ranking with the powers that be in LA and New York. Musicians circa 1966, and from Yorkville, either fled to the US or faded into permanent obscurity.  Cultural indifference and confusion percolated through the Canadian music business in the early to mid 1970’s. It was built around the dominant American based major record companies, and wasn’t allowed a lot of flex when it came to establishing any Canadian bands it was allowed to sign. The oppressive and boring drudgery of the long cold winters and long hot summers in Toronto seemed to only create flabby one dimensional music by the mid 1970’s. The ghosts of Neil Young, Joni Mitchell, and Leonard Cohen had long gone and went on to make number 1 in the USA.

What was left was a music scene in Toronto feeding on itself in a succession of aging hippy musicians ploughing the same club circuit (The Gasworks and The Piccadilly Tube) year after year to little or no recognition.

This freak show produced a series of inbred rock bands (anybody remember ‘Nightwinds’?) that were pale imitations, and mind numbingly derivative, of many of the mega bands filling Maple Leaf Gardens. The Viletones were the freakazoid children of these bastard inbreds. They took in one Ramones show at The New Yorker Theatre (September 1976) and injected The Sex Pistols, The Stooges and The New York Dolls to became a thrilling example of Canadian cultural futility.

But then Nazi Dog never expected anything else….

You can see and read what happened next in this book.